Eco-Masterplan for Balkan Rivers

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could swim in clear blue rivers and see the fascinating landscape? But most of Europe’s rivers are regulated and sick. The Balkan Peninsula is a place that’s
different. These rivers are alive and full of fish such as the danube salmon and the soft mouth trout. The Balkan Rivers are the Blue Heart of Europe. However, they are in grave danger, since about 3,000 hydropower projects are planned between Slovenia and Greece. Almost every river and stream is threatened to be dammed or diverted. If these dams become reality, about 50 fish species would be faced with either global or regional extinction. And over1,000 of these hydro projects are located in strictly protected areas, such as National Parks, Natura2000 sites or nature reserves. Thus, hydropower constitutes the biggest threat to our continent’s fish fauna and nature. In order to avoid this disastrous impact, a spatial plan is needed: an Eco-Masterplan for the Balkan Rivers. In collaboration with scientists, we as Riverwatch and EuroNatur have assessed 80,000 kilometers of river network and defined highly valuable river stretches as No-go areas for dams. To specify No-go stretches, a set of environmental criteria has been implemented across the Balkan region. Criteria that were assessed: intactness of river, protected areas, key species of fish, mussels, caddisflies, floodplains and karst poljes. The result proves the enormous value of the Balkan rivers: 76% of the rivernet on the Balkans are qualified as no-go areas for dams. At the same time, these are “go areas” for rare animals, plants and people. It’s our land, our water, our rivers! It’s our Blue Heart of Europe! Let’s protect it! Go to for more information

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